Diagrams and Web Sites

Doug Yanega dyanega at pop.ucr.edu
Tue Jun 1 17:32:12 EDT 1999

>This will be a one hour talk to people who have an interest and ability in
>Natural History, but who have only limited experience with Leps. What should we
>omit and what should we include?

Definitely consider talking about some of the oddities encountered among
the moths, then - nothing can be as entertaining as the unexpected. For
1 - the moth family Epipyropidae, whose tiny larvae are ectoparasites on
planthoppers; the only parasitic leps.
2 - the Psychidae, where females are larviform and never leave their bags -
which requires some amazing modifications of the male anatomy for them to
be fertilized.
3 - various Pyralids and other moths whose larvae are aquatic, some feeding
on algae while they live in silken tunnels attached to rocks underwater.
4 - Micropterygid moths, adults of which have functional mandibles (the
only leps to do so) and feed on pollen.
5 - Yucca moths and their relatives, some of which are true mutualists with
their host plants (neither can survive without the other; the moths carry
the pollen from plant to plant, and their larvae eat a portion of the
resulting seeds), and others which are simply seed predators, showing how
the former condition evolved from the latter.
6 - the Silk Moth, Bombyx mori, which has the distinction of being the only
insect domesticated to the extent that it can no longer survive in the
7 - there are some noctuid moths (maybe someone here can give the specific
name) that have piercing tongues and will drink blood.
8 - various Pericopine Arctiid moths can produce copious amounts of
repellent froth from a glandular reservoir behind the head, and other
Arctiids can ooze droplets of distasteful fluid from various points of
weakness on the thorax.
9 - Saturniid moths of the genus Lonomia, some of whose larvae have spines
which release an anticoagulant so powerful that several people in southern
Brazil die every year, usually just brushing up against a group of larvae,
and hemorrhaging to death from the toxin.

You get the idea...tell people stories like these, and they'll *remember*
them, and even pass them along to other people, etc. Nothing works better
than amazing your audience, if you want a talk to be memorable.


Doug Yanega       Dept. of Entomology           Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California - Riverside, Riverside, CA 92521
phone: (909) 787-4315
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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